“Foster Youth Education Fund, my personal experience”

Today I would like to divert from the usual rant and share something with you.  Last night I catered a charity event that I am on the board for and have a very personal experience with.  As some of may know I recently owned a restaurant in Cameron Park and became a Chef a few years ago, thus the title of this blog.  The Charity is “Foster Youth Education Fund” a non-profit organization created and ran totally by volunteers to generate and disburse education grants to emancipating foster youth.  This is personal because I grew up in the foster care system from age 6 through 18.  It took me 12 years to complete my degree at CSUS, but I did complete it, so I know from personal experience how difficult it is for someone who has no support financially and in many cases no role models to guide them.   

Today in California when youth in foster care graduate from high school or turn eighteen they are on their own.  At that time they lose their housing, financial support and often the guidance of a caring adult. In Sacramento, approximately 250 youth each year experience this situation. Of these youth, one-fifth end up in jail, half are jobless and a third become homeless.  Although many are interested in pursuing college degrees, the daily struggles to exist keep them from pursuing their higher education goals and achieving their potential.

We also help fund the Guardian Scholars program at Sacramento State.  The program provides a campus-based program with an integrated system of services to support current and former foster youth in the successful completion of a college degree.  In addition to academic assistance the program, through mentor-ship, provides physical/emotional support that will allow them to attend to their studies and complete their degrees in a reasonable time with no or minimum debt.

I went to another charity event last year, I think in was CSUS Alumni, and they raised $2 Million dollars for an art wing honoring a local artist and I couldn’t help but think how many foster youth we could help with 2 million dollars. If you would like to help our website is www.fyef.org  This is my reality show!  It’s my opinion and I’m sticking to it!

Bill Bartok

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